north korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam — but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen is warning that tensions with North Korea could easily get "out of control" and blames President Trump's harsh rhetoric for narrowing options.

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Mullen was asked whether the president's bellicose comments on North Korea had made the situation worse.

"It eliminates maneuver space for him because it looks like brinkmanship to me," said Mullen, a retired admiral.

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Nuclear Threat Initiative

Our guest on today’s show is former Georgia U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. Nunn served in the U.S. senate for 24 years. He was the chairman of the prestigious Armed Services Committee and of the Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations. After retiring from the senate in 1997, he became the founder of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing catastrophic attacks with weapons of mass destruction.

Stefan Krasowski / Wikimedia Commons

 

As tensions escalate with North Korea, a leading nuclear weapons expert says an “America first” approach could put the U.S. and its allies in danger.

Sam Nunn is the co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit that works to prevent the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons.

On GPB’s Political Rewind Wednesday, Nunn said the U.S. needs to make it clear to allies in east Asia that it cares about their safety.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

As the leaders of two nuclear-armed countries trade threats, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Trump "is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."

U.S. intelligence analysts say North Korea has developed a warhead that fits on its ballistic missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching U.S. territory, according to The Washington Post.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

President Trump on Tuesday threatened to meet North Korea with "fire and fury" a day after Pyongyang said it was ready with "ultimate measures" in response to new U.N. sanctions pushed by Washington.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," the president warned at a meeting on the opioid crisis held at Bedminster, N.J., where he is on an extended working vacation.

President Trump signed a bill Wednesday imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, but he made it clear that he was not happy about it.

The president released a scathing signing statement that said the bill was hastily assembled and included "a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions."

The South Korean government made a rare formal overture to its counterpart in the North on Monday, proposing that the longstanding rivals open new military talks along their shared border. It is the first such offer under South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who signaled his willingness to talk with Pyongyang during his campaign earlier this year.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

On the Fourth of July, North Korea marked a milestone by firing an intercontinental ballistic missile that soared high into space before turning around and landing in the sea near Japan. The North's state media said the missile, Hwasong-14, flew 580 miles, reaching an altitude of 1,741 miles, and flew for nearly 40 minutes.

Listen closely to what U.S. officials like to say about America's long security alliance with South Korea, where 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in bases around the country. Something in the language perpetually pops up:

"America's commitment to defending our allies ... remain[s] ironclad," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Seoul in February.

The WannaCry ransomware that attacked computers in 150 countries has lines of code that are identical to work by hackers known as the Lazarus Group, according to security experts. The Lazarus hackers have been linked to North Korea, raising suspicions that the nation could be responsible for the attack.

North Korea has launched a ballistic missile, the first launch since newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in has taken office.

Both Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately condemned the launch, with Moon expressing "deep regret" that it occurred shortly after the new government was sworn in.

President Trump has been briefed on the latest missile test by North Korea.

A White House statement from press secretary Sean Spicer reads:

An American THAAD missile defense system is now operational in South Korea, less than two months after its components arrived there, the U.S. military says.

The system is meant to protect South Korea from ballistic missiles fired by North Korea, the Pentagon says. But China and other critics of the move say it will only increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The decision to install the missile shield was made by the U.S. and South Korea last July.

President Trump says that while he would like to resolve the issue of North Korea's nuclear program diplomatically, it will be hard — and there is a potential for a major clash with the Asian nation, Trump said in an interview with Reuters.

"There's a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea, absolutely," the president told the news agency. "We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult."

In his first interview with NPR, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has a wide-ranging interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep.

Steve Inskeep: I want to begin with North Korea. We heard when you said, "the era of strategic patience is over," so we know what your policy is not. Is there a word or phrase you can give us to say what your approach to North Korea is?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Yes, our approach to North Korea is to have them change their posture towards any future talks.

North Korea could reduce a U.S. strike force to a sea wreck if it's provoked, the country's propaganda outlets said Monday, adding to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. With the threat of a nuclear test in North Korea looming and another U.S. citizen reportedly detained there, China's President Xi Jinping is urging President Trump to avoid escalating the situation.

North Korea launched an unidentified missile, unsuccessfully, on Sunday morning from its east coast, near Sinpo, say U.S. military officials.

"The missile blew up almost immediately. The type of missile is still being assessed," the U.S. Pacific Command says in an emailed statement.

For someone who speaks with as much conviction as President Trump, he sure has a way of changing positions with an equal level of certitude.

A U.S. Navy strike group has been ordered to relocate to the western Pacific Ocean, providing a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula as concerns mount over North Korea's missile program.

The Pentagon announced the deployment late Saturday. In a statement, U.S. Pacific Command spokesman David Benham said the Carl Vinson Strike Group set sail toward the peninsula from Singapore.

President Trump issued a remarkable statement following a Syrian gas attack U.S. officials say was leveled by that country's leader against his own people.

Some 40 words of the short, 78-word statement blamed former President Barack Obama for inaction.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. doesn't want to take military action against North Korea, but "all of the options are on the table" if a serious threat arises. Tillerson made his frank remarks in a visit to South Korea on Friday, a day after saying diplomatic efforts "have failed" to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Tillerson's Asia tour began in Japan and will end in China. The top American diplomat is traveling without a press contingent.

South Korean defense officials and the U.S. Strategic Command say North Korea test-fired a "medium- or intermediate-range" ballistic missile early Sunday morning local time, which flew eastward for about 300 miles from the west coast of North Korea, over the peninsula and landed in the Sea of Japan. This marks the first missile test by the Kim Jong Un regime since October, and the first during the new Donald Trump presidency.

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